For 20 years, I’ve applied my passions for health, gardening and family to stories for regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Elite magazine, Chicagoland Gardening, Make It Better and the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Since 2011, I’ve been a garden field editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine and their special interest publications including Country Gardens and Outdoor Spaces. It’s a dream job that allows me the flexibility to be the mom I want to be while maintaining my place in the working world. I’m always learning and forever curious.
I’m a tomboy at heart and my dog Stella gets excited when I sport my two signature pieces, a baseball cap and my work jeans. She knows I’ll be in her territory for the day and we’ll garden together. From the rugby pitch to the garden patch, I’m no delicate flower. I can jump double Dutch like you wouldn’t believe and throw a perfect spiral with precision. And my camera is my best (non-human) friend.
I’ve paid for two manicures and one pedicure in my lifetime. It just doesn’t make sense to pay to make pretty hands that are constantly compelled to dig, plant and pick stuff up (I’m an avid weightlifter with a fondness for deadlifts and Turkish get-ups). But most importantly, I’m a wife and mother determined to make a happy healthy home for my family. And much of my reality has its roots in a garden. I gain so much joy and peace from sinking my hands in this heavy clay soil and sharing what I’ve learned with my children, who can identify the plants, birds and insects that inhabit our small suburban Chicago landscape. There’s something to be said for children who understand that they’re just a small piece of a giant equation and that piece, no matter how tiny, has a role to play.
They’re teenagers now and still thrill (it’s more like a subdued enthusiasm, but I’ll take it nonetheless) at their first spring siting of a ruby-throated hummingbird and mention when they no longer see them at our window feeders when the sun dips low and summer wanes. They recognize how few or many varieties of butterfly visit our yard from year to year and are keen to the appearance of the Monarch who visits the milkweed we let spread throughout our garden. I’m grateful they know.
My husband is a city-boy gone country. Plants and gardens were not a part of his childhood until we met and he had no choice but to embrace, and ultimately fall in the love with, the garden that hugs our home. He’s a great sport, humoring me and my ideas for pergolas, patios and espalier. Thank God he’s a wonderful carpenter! And every year, he loses a little more turf to my ever expanding garden. The poor guy’s surrounded by estrogen, even the dog and hamsters are female, but he navigates girl world with a terrific sense of humor and the girls and I are lucky to have such a hard-working and devoted man in our lives.
I believe in the power of small things. Tiny seeds. Little hands. Furry paws. A nourishing meal made from the simplest ingredients. The ability to create something beautiful for the soul and the body, whether it’s through food, a flower, a kind word or a handwritten note just because.
I’m glad you’re here and hope that through my pictures and stories you’ll be inspired to garden, appreciate the little things and try something new.